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States with Licensure (updated June 6, 2014)


States with Mandates (updated June 6, 2014)

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
  • Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life)
  • Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer includes Asperger’s syndrome; the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome are included within the broader category of ASD.


National Institute of Mental Health. (2014). Retrieved from http://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

ABA is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications that produce socially significant improvement in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationships between the environment and specific behavior. ABA utilizes modifications in environmental events, including antecedents and consequences, to elicit viable and significant changes in behavior. The relevant environmental events are identified through a variety of specialized assessment techniques. ABA is based on the fact that an individual’s behavior is determined by past and current environmental events in conjunction with organic variables. ABA focuses on treating behavioral difficulties by changing the individual’s environment rather than focusing on variables that are beyond a practitioners direct access.

What is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

According the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), the BCBA and BCBA-D are independent practitioners who also may work as employees or independent contractors for an organization. The BCBA conducts descriptive and systematic behavioral assessments, including functional analyses, and provides behavior analytic interpretations of the results. The BCBA designs and supervises behavior analytic interventions. The BCBA is able to effectively develop and implement appropriate assessment and intervention methods for use in unfamiliar situations and for a range of cases. The BCBA seeks the consultation of more experienced practitioners when necessary. The BCBA teaches others to carry out ethical and effective behavior analytic interventions based on published research and designs and delivers instruction in behavior analysis. BCBAs supervise the work of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts and others who implement behavior analytic interventions.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2014).  Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®, BCBA-D ™ ).  Retrieved from http://www.bacb.com/index.php?page=4


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